The Gentiles had a much easier time of accepting Jesus as Messiah. A few lines before today’s readings is an excerpt that relates the frustrations felt by Paul and others with the Jews who refused to believe in Jesus as Messiah, as the Son of God. Apparently Priscilla and Aquila convinced Apollos, and he became an ardent advocate for the belief in Jesus as Messiah.
Jesus is more indirect, but still clear, especially in the hindsight of Easter, that He is the Son of God. He tells his followers they will be answered favorably when their requests are made to God in the name of Jesus.
The psalm invites us to clap our hands, to shout in gladness, to sing hymns of praise, because the Lord is king of the earth, supreme guardian over all the earth.
I am a somewhat reserved person, but there are times I feel like clapping in delight, shouting in gladness, and singing hymns of praise, as the psalm invites me. This past weekend we heard our symphony offer a masterful performance of Aaron Copland’s Third symphony. When the last movement ended, I jumped to my feet and clapped and shouted with joy, moved by both their performance and Copland’s masterful composition. But I also had been reflecting during the piece of the powerful gift of hearing, the amazing gift of artistry of musicians, the subtle power of a conductor who blends all the pieces into a brief moment of incredible beauty, never again to be repeated in exactly the same way. I feel this same sense of humble, grateful awe at the sight of a sunrise breaking over the horizon as songbirds dance with the joy of the moment on slender branches; the sensual delights in experiencing the gorgeous blooms of spring after a long, cold winter; the deep love I feel in my wife’s eyes and embrace.
Perhaps a useful exercise to try today would be to return to one of those special times in your life where you felt especially grateful to be alive, to be aware, of the gift that life is for you. When you have settled on that feeling, consider again the incredible gift that is Jesus, and His life, and His sacrifice for us, and feel the emotion of gratitude for the salvation that comes from Him.
And so my prayer today is not just to know in my mind that Jesus is my salvation, but also to feel in my heart the power of gratitude for the greatest sacrifice of all time.
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